Life Lessons From My 13 Year Old Dachshund

Velma (Age 6) Myself (Age 11)

When I was 4 years old, my parents brought home a miniature dachshund named Daphane. She was hands down the meanest little dog to ever walk the face of the planet but it didn’t matter because I was enamored by her stubby legs and thunderous bark.

Three years later, Daphane gave birth to a litter of five puppies. I remember the day they were born as I threw myself down the stairs out of my 1st grade classroom and joined my parents at the vet’s office.

As the puppies grew up, we gave them away to family and friends. We gave all but one away. We decided to keep the runt of the litter, who looked exacly like her mother. In true Scooby Doo fashion, we decided to name her Velma.

Over the past 13 years, Velma and I have grown up together. We’ve cried, played, and eaten way too much food. Now dawning her 13th birthday, I want to reflect back upon everything this tiny, highly opinionated, dog has taught me throughout our lifetime together.

As both Velma and I age, she seems to sleep more and I seem to sleep even less. As a senior in college, all nighters are a fact of life. As a senior pup, all day sleep sessions are the norm.

Velma’s taught me the art of doing nothing. Which may seem easy, until your up to your neck in projects, haven’t showered in days, and can’t seem to get your mind to shut up.

Over the past 13 years, there haven’t been many nights when this old pup hasn’t weaseled her way under the covers of my bed and curled up at my feet, and for that, I’m incredibly grateful.

Velma’s 13th Birthday Party

If anyone has met me, they’ll tell you I’m absolutely not a person of patience. It’s an understatement to say that patience is hard for someone who lives life at a thousand miles an hour.

Unfortunately, patience is a life skill that everyone would go absolutely crazy without. Velma’s taught me that waiting for something, no matter how hard or long the wait is, will eventually yield results. For Velma, this usually means waiting in the drive through for a Culver’s Pup Cup of ice cream.

There’s been times I’ve sat in a puddle of tears and have felt this small furball clamor her way up my body and into my arms. She’d sit, licking the tears off my face, making me laugh from the tickling sensation.

Velma has taught me that small gestures whether they’re cuddles or just listening when needed can mean everything to someone when they’re down. She’s taught me that empathy even in the smallest forms can make all the difference.

If you or someone you know has a tiny dog, then you’re all too familiar with the constant high pitched yips that fill your ears when they don’t get their way.

It’s no secret, dogs demand to be heard whether we like it or not. Velma has taught me how much power there is in making your voice heard, especially when others try to quiet you.

I’ve seen my 15 pound dachshund throw herself into the ocean because she thought I was drowning (we were both only ankle deep). She’s never strayed from my side (with the exception of chasing down food), and that’s a special kind of loyalty that I have been extremely lucky to grow up with.

Velma has taught me that through trails and years of being together, there’s honor in always staying my someone’s side.

Velma Today (Age 13)

One of the biggest things Velma has taught me is that if one day I should be lucky enough to have kids, I’d want them to grow up with a friend like I did. To grow up with a pet that will teach you all the things in life that just can’t be taught in the same way by humans.

With love, honesty, loyalty, empathy, and a ton of good times, growing up with a dog has changed my life throughout the last 13 years for the better. For that, I owe a 15 pound, ferocious, ankle biter, my thanks for teaching me some of the most important lessons of my life.

Writer. Designer. Techie.